Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Wishing Well

I was at the mall today with my friend's eight-year-old daughter. She kept asking me if I could buy her a ride on the indoor carousel, a slushie, a necklace, something! The thought of bringing a kid to a mall and leaving with nothing defines torture in my mind. If you don't wish to spend money, don't go to the mall. I'm also lenient in giving children a small amount of money since they have no form of income. So, I gave her $5 and told her she could use it however she'd like, but that was all she was getting. This made her choose. Soon, the money was gone. As she drank her slushie and jealously watched the children on the carousel, she asked me for the few pennies she had left. I gave them to her and she threw one in the fountain. "What did you wish for?" I asked. "That you would give me more money," she replied. I laughed. It reminds me of what we sometimes do with God. God gives us gifts that we think of as mere pennies. We toss them away and say, "No God, give me better blessings." We overlook and are ungrateful for the blessings He graciously gives us. Afterall, He doesn't have to give us anything at all.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Food Waste - 14 November 2008

Not photo, but here's the list for the week:

- celery (lots of it)
- carrots (the package was broken and I just realized it...was wondering how they rotted so fast)
- one egg (my neighbor cracked it onto the counter when we were teaching her how to make cookies :-) )
- a bit of soup

I feel I did pretty good...but I think I threw some stuff out earlier this week I forgot about :-)

Alma Maters

I was recently on the campuses of my alma maters (yes, I have two) and was struck by God's beautiful world. So I dug up some photos from my college years:
Bells at Bethel Seminary

Fishing on Lake Valentine at Bethel University

Bethel Seminary playground

The "new" dock on Lake Valentine at Bethel University

Benson Great Hall at Bethel University
(this looks way different now with the new construction)

Nazareth tower at Northwestern College (yes, I've been up there)

Island Chapel at Northwestern

Nazareth Hall at Northwestern College

Nazareth Hall at Northwestern College

In the woods at Northwestern College
If you need more information on Northwestern's historical places, please visit: .

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Coffee Confusion

I've talked to a lot of people who are confused by iced coffee and cold-press coffee. Many people think there is no difference, but there is.

Iced Coffee
Iced coffee (like McDonald's is becoming known for) is hot coffee with ice. Really. That's it. Sometimes people add flavor or cream. The coffee is made by running hot water through grounds just like people often make it at home or work. It is quick.

Cold-Press Coffee
Can you get cold-press coffee hot? Actually, yes! Cold-press is the brewing method. When you make cold-press coffee, you pour coffee grounds and water into a container and let it sit for 8-12 hours. Then you drain the liquid and dilute it 1 t0 4 with water (hot or cold). That is how you make cold-press coffee. Cold-press is less acidic and contains less caffeine than hot-brewed coffee.

Here's the recipe I use for cold-press:

1/2 lb (about 2.5 cups) course ground coffee
4 1/2 cups water
Do not stir. Let sit 8-12 hours. You can use any container. No need for anything fancy.
Strain out the liquid (this can be tricky, but any coffee strainer or mesh strainer will do). Dilute 1 to 3 or 4 with water (hot or cold). I keep the concentrate in my fridge and measure out what I need every morning. It takes up less space in the fridge and gives me the option of having it hot or cold. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Fear of People

Ever since I was a child, I knew the feeling of fear. Every night before I went to bed I would look down the street at my neighbor's mailbox and fear it was the boogie man. It created a bizarre shadow that when mixed with the odd plant next to it created a very recognizable boogie man (well, in the eyes of a three-year-old). I would stay up late at night in fear the boogie man would get me. I would like to say I quickly grew out of my fear, but I didn' fears just changed. Bombarded with hours and hours of watching Rescue 911 with my family, I quickly became afraid of people breaking into my house, fires, high cliffs, rabid animals, and random health issues. As I watch the news, it makes me afraid of people who do random attacks. So its no wonder I walk down the street fearing the worst in people. You never know who to suspect. You can't be too sure who to trust.

However, I grew up in a church that had a strong moto. "Ascribe infinite worth to everyone you meet". Everyone, every person on the earth, has infinite worth to God. God loves them so much He died for them! They have unsurpassible, infinite worth to Him. But still, when I hear a knock on the door, the adreneline pumps a bit, you hear about crazy people attacking this way. When I hear someone yelling outside, I wonder what's wrong. When I drive by a person begging on the side of the road, I or my passenger instinctly trigger the lock switch. Why? Why are we afraid of people? In the Bible we learn, "In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" - Psalm 56:11. So, when you hear a knock, open that door. When you pass people in the mall, make eye contact. Driving pass the beggar, send up a prayer. Don't fear people and the possible harm they could do, welcome them into life. We need each other in life. We were created to do life together. Invite people in.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Grocery Savings

I got some good deals at the grocery store today! Sure, I clip coupons, but unlike my cousin, I mostly forget to bring them to the store. Also, I usually use the gift cards I buy from the Scrip program through our local private school so they get the 2% kick back (with no extra cost to me!). This evening I had no coupons and forgot the Scrip card (I decided to go on my way home from work...cut across a few lanes to make this last minute decision :-) ). Forgetting the card was no big deal since this month is 5% back from Discover which is more than the kick back they get from Scrip; so I can donate the 5% instead. I was pleased to find soup on sale 4/$3. Its not the best deal, but I wanted to buy a few anyways. The jackpot was Kraft Mac and Cheese on sale for 50 cents a box!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I rarely see this name brand product at this deep of discount. I bought 8 but am considering getting more since this is something I give my neighbors when they are out of food. Not only did I hit the sale, get 5% back, but my grocery store Cub also gives out discount coupons for gas, so I got 4 cents off 12 gallons of gas, AND they are doing a holiday bucks program so I got $1 off my next purchase! Cool!!! Now I just have to remember to use them. Candy was also on sale (post-Halloween) so I got some $1 bags (usually 2.89) for the office. Apples and potatoes were also on sale. On the bottom of my receipt it calculates my savings for me: $5.67, a savings of 14%!!! I'm not quite the Frugal Girl, but its a savings! I'm working on it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Fire

This week has been intense. It hasn't been bad, stressful, or even busy, just intense (at least that's the closest word I came up with): work has been busy (which I like) as we have been short staffed (which I don't like), the political scene of our country has been intense, today I had a good talk with a friend about discipleship in churches that caused some deep thinking, and we had a fire in our building Monday morning.

I awoke at one a.m. to the sound of the smoke alarms going off in the building. As freaked out as I was, I quickly determined my room did not feel warm and I saw no smoke. "This could be a while," I thought as I pulled on some real clothes. I wandered outside and saw no one. A few minutes later two police officers came and asked if I knew who had called, I didn't. I let them in the building as my neighbor ran out clutching her son and screaming. The unit above hers was on fire and smoke was billowing down to her building. We got away from the building and saw where the smoke was coming from. Thick, black smoke was billowing from the fourth floor. When I saw that, I knew this was for real and was scared. I joined my neighbor across the street. She was panicy and her son was cold. The two of them were scared for their cat, but the mom reassured her son, "The people are safe and that's what's important". She calmed down and I became her eyes (as she had no time to put her contacts in admist the rush). With our street blocked off, the firefighters came with four fire engines, raised up the flood lights, and immersed us in a surreal, strobing daylight. They drug a fire hose through our building, raised up ladders, and carried huge tools around. My neighbor and I chatted about how thankful we were it was November and still a balmy 65 degrees out (even at 1am), how she could really use a light, and how the work day was going to be very tiring tomorrow. (Evacuation are a great way to meet your neighbors.) A while later, the landlord came and talked with my neighbor about how there might be damage to her unit. They walked through it and found only a little water damage (and they found her cat :-) ). The fire marshall told us we could go back in, but they would continue working in the building. It was hard to sleep with the huge light still on and all the noise of the fans drying out our building. The fire has changed my view on life. I'm not sure how, I just feel I have a different perspective. People seem more important. Life seems shorter. Stuff has lost all value. Never once while sitting and watching the calamity did we talk about how we were going to miss this, that, or the other thing. All she said about loss was "The people are safe."

Also this week, I have started doing my devotional time more structured. It is ramped up in intensity and I love it. I have been thinking about surrender and found it drastically ironic that the day after I learn about surrender, our building is in flames (ok, it wasn't that bad). It was almost as if God was saying, "Really? Are you ready for an adventure? Are you ready to give your all?" Wow. God is awesome. And with me in my intense week!